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Ronald Muldrow: Freedom’s Serenade

Guitarist Ronald Muldrow is a highly skillful player, who demonstrates a fierceness on his instrument that is nearly mesmerizing. On Freedom’s Serenade, he is joined by legendary pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Peter Washington, drummers Yoron Israel and Lorca Hart and vibraphonist Miller Pertum. The influence of Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery is apparent on this disc, as is that of Eddie Harris, withwhom Muldrow worked for many years.

Muldrow’s recording of Harris’ “Boogie Woogie Bossa Nova” is fusion at its best and is a fitting tribute to his mentor. On “Basic Traneing” Muldrow expertly references Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” while on “Point Set on Ahmad” he offers a subtle nod to Jamal’s “Poinciana.” While it may seem as though Muldrow’s constant references to his idols leaves little room for creativity, he is actually able to place his own unique stamp on each of the disc’s 10 tunes with his expansive guitar playing and clever and original arrangements and compositions. This is Muldrow’s fifth release as a leader and it clearly showcases him as one of the most intense guitarists in jazz today.

Originally Published